Rae Morris Interview Brixton O2 Academy, 13th March 2014

Right, so it’s been a crazy year for you with touring, festivals, and releasing your EP, how’s it been

It’s been great, this year in particular has been really exciting it feels like everything’s been starting. I’ve been doing it for quite a while now but this has been the first year that things have been kicking off, like I’ve been played on the radio and starting to get recognised, so the little things like that which have been happening are all really, really positive.

Yeah, you’re all over youtube, and I saw that you were in the live lounge not so long ago, and there are loads of blogs about you, all good things don’t worry

Haha phew. Yeah it’s all been very exciting, still can’t believe a lot of it to be honest but so far I’ve enjoyed every moment

What has it been like touring?

It’s been amazing, in total for 3 years, started when I was 17 (Wow that’s so young) Yeah, I began when I was at college, but this year has been the best as I’ve been with Bombay Bicycle Club supporting which has been wonderful, especially because I supported them a few years ago and got to know them so to have got back with them has been lovely

What are they really like?

They’re wonderful yeah, they’re people that I see outside of the music as well, which is great, especially considering I don’t have that much time to see other people, but they’re very down to earth and we can just get along together

So what about Lunar in the charts at the moment with your vocals, that’s pretty cool

Ah do you like it? Yeah it’s very cool, it was great fun to work like that with Bombay and see how it took off, it was nice to be a part of that

Awesome! And festivals, are you doing any this year?

At the moment I’ve got a few confirmed but nothing major, just a few underground ones like Dot to Dot in Bristol and the Great Escape in Brighton which I’m really looking forward to because it’s just such a great festival, so yeah, just little things like that and hopefully I’ll get booked into other ones as well as the summer goes on.

What do you prefer, touring or festivals?

Umm I definitely prefer long tours because you can really get into it. Like this tour we’re doing at the moment everyone knows each other now and we’re in the routine of it

How long has this tour been going for now

I’ve done two weeks so far already with Bombay and maybe this is the ninth or tenth gig

Haha you don’t even know any more

Haha yeah, I literally don’t, you lose track very easily, but this one today is a London show which is very exciting, I can’t wait

I imagine it’s exhausting though isn’t it?

It is, it’s difficult to y’know keep it going (and stay grounded I imagine?) yeah, you’ve got to keep yourself well, because you’re singing every night

Yeah that’s a point, how do you keep your vocals up to scratch, must be pretty straining?

Haha well yeah, it is… you just… I don’t actually know yet haha, I’m still figuring that out

That’s why you need all the tea and honey right? (at the start of the interview, someone had brought her lemon tea and in drug deal fashion, exchanged munuka honey for money, very hush hush)

Exactly, I’m into all of that, you kind of get obsessed with manuka and all of these fancy things

Hmm the myth of manuka, does that actually work?!

I believe it does yeah! It’s a pretty good thing

You should promo it for them! So what do you do in the day when you’re touring, how does it all work?

Well I stay in travel lodges because we don’t have a bus or anything, we just follow the band, so basically we stay, sleep, check out and then drive to the next place

So you’re just driving all the time! Pretty close proximity with everyone all the time?!

Yep. It really is. But we have a DVD in the van so that’s ok, we’ve been watching Band of Brothers recently which is really good, quite bleak, but really fun… then we just get to the venue at like 3 or 4 where we’ve got to load in and sound check, so by the time you’ve done all that, it’s pretty much time to get onstage and then you’ve got to leave again!

You must just be on an adrenaline high the whole time to keep going!

Yeah, it’s important to make sure you’ve had enough sleep, but it’s so wonderful, I love it so much I don’t mind!

So you actually do look forward to doing it every day, or are you sometimes like ‘ugh I’ve got to go up again!!’

No never, I always feel like, because every gig is so different, there are different venues and all these different factors y’know like the sound and the little changes, so I never feel like I don’t want to do it. This gig is gonna be interesting actually because it’s just the next level, it’s such a good venue to play at

What’s been your favourite venue ever, including festivals, all of it…

Oh ever? Well I played at the Royal Albert Hall not too long ago, I opened for Noah and the Whale. That was just one of those moments… because I’m from the North, Blackpool, so I don’t know London all that well and one of the first things that I did when I came to London when I was a kid was go and look at the RAH and the Royal Academy of Music

Bet you never thought that you’d be playing there one day!

No not at all, so yeah, it was a pretty big deal!

Ok next question, are you a barefoot performer?

No. absolutely not, I am just not into that, just no. I understand the whole no shoes type thing, like if you’re wearing big high heels or something but I’m just not into bare feet

Don’t wanna feel your soles against the stage then? Never get that urge haha

No, well, maybe if you’re like Joni Mitchell or something then that’s totally cool, but other than that it’s just not good… it’s too cold haha

Hmmmm interesting. I think if I was a performer I’d go barefoot… foot jail man, what about at a festival, then it’s edgey right?!

Haha at a festival?! That’s even more reason to wear shoes!

True! So I have to ask, because your hair is fabulous, how do you keep it in shape? Manuka honey perhaps??

Literally, I do nothing, just wash it and then leave it, we have similar hair, that’s the done thing right?

Absolutely! And if anyone come’s near you with a hairbrush fight them off haha… what about your family and friends back home then? Do you ever get to see them? It must be hard to maintain that being on the road all the time?

Yeah it is quite tough, I guess I don’t really see my parents as much as I’d like to but I do see them a lot because they’re massive fans, not just of me, of Bombay and everyone which is good and they’ve kind of got to know everyone quite well now. They’ve already been to like 4 of the gigs on this tour and they’re going to come to more of them!!

Ahh that’s really nice, and how about your friends back home, get to see them much or are you kind of just making more friends on the road, I suppose there’s no real time to keep that well in contact with everyone at home, especially because you started out so young, 17 you said?

Yeah I guess I kind of didn’t make that many teenage friends because I didn’t go to university or anything so I’m just so lucky that I get to meet likeminded musicians like now with Bombay Bicycle Club, they’re the kind of people who I can get really close to

Do you ever sort of make music with them, like, do you ever talk over your songs and come up with stuff? (yeah definitely) or does it all come from you?

Well I guess it’s a bit of both actually, I mean, I’ve always been very sure about what I wanna do, and I kind of know that myself but it’s so nice to have people like Jack and to be able to bounce ideas off and say ‘what do you think of this’ and ‘what do you advise me to do?’ and that’s what’s so nice about having people around that know!

So do you ever jam?

Haha I cannot jam

You don’t all just sit around the piano and do kind of improv

Aww no, I am so bad at jamming, because I’m not like a proper musician, like I’m not very good

Haha don’t say that about yourself, you’re great don’t worry!

Haha yeah, well I’ve been around people jamming and I like to watch them do it, I just kind of sit back and appreciate the jam haha

Jam’s where it’s all at man! So onto the writing of your music, what’s your method, lyrics or melody first?

It’s always melody first with me, it’s always about the music first. And I guess the more that I’m on the road, the lyrics kind of come to me so it’s changing, it’s gradually changing, but yeah, usually it is the music first and the lyrics come later because the words are the hardest part and they’ve gotta be right, they’ve gotta fit.

Yeah for sure, so when you come to writing the lyrics does something just come to you or is it more like a personal, deep down kind of emotional thing haha

It depends because I guess like, if I’ve done a recording of a song when I was just recording the idea, if there’s like a phrase that fits really nicely with the feel of the music then I’ll try and fit the words around that, and it might be something that wouldn’t work and if it is then I don’t try to force it, but yeah usually if I’m gonna write a song then it’s gonna be about something that’s important because you’ve got to sing it every night haha

Haha yes, very true! Are you writing anything at the moment or coming up with stuff?

I’m still writing yeah, I’m trying to write all the time but it is hard when you’re moving around a lot but my album is finished now and is coming out just after the summer so I guess I’m kind of still writing for that as well as writing for the next thing!

Phwoar so it’s all go, never a dull moment! Ok, a bit out of the blue but we’ve got a feature on our show called ‘what bothers me’ so what we’d like to know is what bothers you?

What bothers me? Like anything?

Yeah, it can be as trivial as you like, for example, my most recent ‘what bothers me’ is how I noticed the other day that I grit my teeth when I stroke dogs, out of love I guess haha, which apparently is very weird, I thought it was normal so I was bothered by the fact that not everyone does it… do you, please say yes!!

Nooo… I don’t do that. That’s really weird, sorry haha

Yeah, yeah I know haha so what about you then?

Ok, definitely ice, like I don’t really like ice at all, ice in the freezer is awful, like when you put your fingers into the draw and it’s just the worst, makes me cringe. But I hate it everywhere, even in drinks, can’t have it at all… unless I’ve got a straw because I’ve got sensitive teeth

You need Sensodyne

I’ve tried, I really have! Nothing helps!

Haha that’s too bad, no cold drinks for you then! Have you had any cringe moments when performing or anything, any major faux pas?

Ooo, yeah, last time I was on tour with Bombay, we were in Plymouth and I went out and said ‘good evening Portsmouth!’ because we were doing both places… I think there were a few boos! But I’m glad I’ve messed up like that quite early on, I feel like it’s out of the way now

Yeah it’s a pretty rockstar thing to do, well done! So you went to the Brit Awards recently, how was that? Was it very surreal?

It’s kinda cool, it’s kind of like just really normal though at the same time. The way that I felt about it was that it was really great for everyone to be recognised for who they are and it was just really nice to see the music, y’know, just watch the gigs it’s not really about the awards for me so it was nice to go and enjoy it but I always feel a little bit out of place, it’s very strange

Don’t worry, I’m sure everyone feels like that! So is this whole experience and lifestyle still very surreal for you or are you kind of getting used to it now?

Oh gosh yeah, I’m always in awe, I actually don’t do anything like that ever so it’s really abnormal, I like to just be totally normal and do normal things so going to things like the Brits is just really surreal, I’m always thinking ‘this is a totally different world!’

Well this is your life now I guess haha

Yeah I hope so, fingers crossed

Are you turning into a diva then? Do you have any weird demands or anything?

I really hope not! Uhh no not really, very into health stuff like we were talking about before, I need my manuka honey, so yeah, that’s my one luxurious thing.

I think we can allow you that! Well I think that’s everything I need, and it’s been really lovely talking to you so thank you, I really appreciate it and I’m a big fan! Good luck with everything and thanks on behalf of Insanity Radio, it’s been great!

~ Chrissi Smith


Check out Rae Morris’ new single “Do You Even Know?” here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Nz-GlhKZVg